Holcim strike averted after settlement – DOLE
MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz assured the construction sector on Thursday, November 27, of steady cement supply, after planned strikes in 2 of 4 major plants of cement manufacturing giant Holcim Philippines Inc were averted through separate settlements.
Around 458 of the 1,700 employees of Holcim were caught in 3 separate labor disputes with the company, but all have either amicably settled or voluntarily withdrawn the cases in November.
One settlement involved a P21.71-million benefits package that runs for two years. This prompted nearly a hundred plant supervisors to withdraw their planned strike in Holcim's Bulacan plant. A total of 110 rank-and-file employees also withdrew a strike threat which would have damaged operations in its Davao plant.
Another group of 252 supervisors in Holcim's Misamis Oriental plant also agreed to settle in a preventive mediation case, after the company promised to provide a 5% wage increase by 2015 and a P30,000 cash gift for all the union members.
Baldoz hailed the resolution of the labor issues as a "win-win solution," stressing the importance of "harmonious relations at the plant level" for "employee productivity and enterprise growth."
The government's "fiscal space" for increased infrastructure spending as well as reconstruction efforts in areas hit by 2013's most powerful tropical cyclone Yolanda is expected to boost cement demand
“This also means the country is assured of a steady supply of cement which is essential in the continued growth of the construction sector,” added the labor chief.
Holcim Philippines is the leading cement manufacturer in the country, operating in 4 major plants with a combined annual capacity of more than 6 million metric tons of clinker and 7.7 million tons of cement.
The government's "fiscal space" for increased infrastructure spending as well as reconstruction efforts in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) is expected to boost cement demand.
The United Bulacan Supervisory Employees Union (UBSEU) filed a notice of strike on October 9 and the Davao Holcim Employees and Workers Union (DAHEWU) last October 29.
Holcim Lugait Supervisory Independent Union's preventive mediation case was filed on October 13 and settled on Monday, November 24.
A 3-hour proceeding also on Monday evening before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) concluded a month of mediation-concilliation efforts between UBSEU and Holcim.
The settlement package accorded to the supervisory employees of Holcim's Bulacan plant include a P30,000 goodwill bonus for the union members, a guaranteed 5% wage increase, and an annual P15,000 medical and optical allowance per employee.
The employees will also be able to convert to cash their unused leaves exceeding 45 days by early 2015.
As part of the agreement, Holcim will provide a P500,000 grant to the union’s livelihood project already supported by the labor department.